To Ask or Not to Ask




As I sometimes spend time with my grandchildren when their parents are out of town, I am reminded of how much I appreciate the handy GPS on my phone. There are often times when a trip to a soccer game, a music lesson, or some other activity requires I navigate to a place I have never been over roads that are not well known to me. I know that GPS is not always 100% accurate, but over the years I think it has improved and is not often wrong.


How much more difficult it was to navigate around town when the phone in our purses did not give us that assistance. My husband is very visual so he always loves to look at or have someone draw a map. Those don’t seem to work for me. I am one of those who needs landmarks and such to guide me, but that is a bit imprecise sometimes.


There is also the challenge of stopping and asking someone for directions after your preferred method fails. Whether or not the person has a clue or acts as if they do is a toss up. More than once I have gotten bad advice.


Clearly, that was the experience of Jayber in Wendell Berry’s novel, Jayber Crow. Listen to this description:


“I got a lot of bad advice. People either didn’t know the way or were guessing, or they were mistaken about where the roads were blocked. I traveled by going wrong and then going right and then going wrong again, lost most of the time.”


Those words (spoken about an earthbound trip from point A to point B) can be just as true about our journey through life. Along the way, we can be given a lot of advice. Some of it is unasked for and offered from those who appear to be “in the know”. The challenge for us is whether we accept and trust the counsel or not.


Those offering the advice may be very sincere and sound knowledgeable. It seems like a images (1)safe bet to follow their guidance, but we may still find ourselves somewhere along “the yellow brick road” far from our destination. There may be many reasons for that. These many include that we do not ask with enough definition for them to understand what advice we may need. Other times the problem may be that the adviser may be using a lens filter from his or her own experience that distorts the information.


The truth is that the Father creates each of us uniquely. Each of us will likely take a variety of different paths to arrive at the place He has called us to. It will not be unusual for it to take some time for us to determine just what that is. Even with the best of counsel, we may be unsure of where we are on the journey.


Jayber Crow describes it this way:


“For long stretches…I walked along it seemed that I was staying in place and the world was turning backward beneath me like a big wheel. When I looked up again I would see that I had come a considerable way since I had looked the last time, and that would be a pleasure.”


Do we ask or not?


Even the most independent of us discovers at some point we want or need to ask for the advice or counsel of others. The key to remember is to choose the right companion for b25676f8b33bbde5ab67e98af75334c5--proverbs-bible-quotes-wise-proverbs (1)our journey through life. Humankind choices that prove the best are those who offer wisdom and insight as well as information. They also speak the truth even if we prefer not to hear it.


There is only One who knows the way we are to take. There is only One who never sleeps and never tires of us. There is only One who cheers us on even when we stumble. He is the same One who will be waiting for us when we finish the race and cross the finish line into eternity.


When Jesus walked the earth He sometimes appeared to be alone, but was never truly alone except when He hung on the cross. He communed with His Father who ordered His steps.


Let us never forget that when Jesus departed this earth, He promised and gave the Holy Spirit to us to be the very best companion. His counsel always lines up with the Father and Son. His advice never fails. It is we who must learn to listen patiently and then follow where He leads us.



21 thoughts on “To Ask or Not to Ask

  1. I love looking at maps. I like to get my bearings. I do like to gather wise advice from Godly people I respect but only after I have first gone to God. I do sometimes mix this up and I love it when a friend gently reminds me where I need to go first. Sounds like a good book.

  2. Pam,
    I loved your thoughts here! Especially your paragraph on The One who is our chief guide, and this ending: “He is the same One who will be waiting for us when we finish the race and cross the finish line into eternity.” I just read another Devotional this morning that touched on this thought; I love it when God confirms His word to us! Can’t wait to go read your next post on Jayber. This group discussion is so full of insights and enouragement! Blessings to you!

    1. Thanks, Bettie! Ah, yes, confirmation is such a gift…I love it too when I discover that. Jayber has impacted me a great deal. You will discover a few more posts in the next week or see that are musings stirred by the philosopher/barber. 💕 This book has given me many pauses to reflect on.

  3. Pam, I’ve had Frost’s poem rattling around in my head lately, and I had attributed it to the fall season and a poetry unit I”m doing with my son, but now you’ve tied it into Jayber’s wanderings and I’m stunned by the connection.
    And in our era of “Fake News” it’s even more critical that we guard against “Fake Theology” or, to use your wonderful metaphor, “Inaccurate Directions.” This is such a great pondering of Jayber’s journey,and I love how it connects on so many levels with our own.

    1. That is so interesting and fun!! “Fake Theology”….love that phrase. Thanks so much for your sharing and friendship. (I just posted The Listeners related to some of your quotes in yesterday’s discussion group.) Have a beautiful weekend! 🍁

      1. Yes, I caught up with it on Twitter. And I’ve added it to a collection I’ve started on FB. I’m trying to gather all these good thoughts in one place for people to find. If you have any suggestions about how to do this in a better way, I’m open. Social media is not my forte.

      2. I am not a great social media person either so my guess would be no better than yours. One thought about your discussion group for a future book might be setting up a group page on FB (a bit like the group for Fiercehearted). Hope you have a good visit with your sister.

  4. That oldie-but-goodie poem is one of my faves, Pam. Our new car (that we’ve had for 1.5 years, but I’m still paying for it, so I’m still feeling like it’s new, haha) has a gps in it and I can’t believe I ever lived without one. I used my phone occasionally before, but I wasn’t as good with it either. (Like your hubby, the visual part helps me too.) So thankful for the Spirit who walks beside us, guiding us–our Spiritual GPS. 🙂

  5. “It is we who must learn to listen patiently and then follow where He leads us.” Yes, and sometimes it is very hard to wait but always best. Thanks for sharing your insights. I’ve begun reading Jayber Crow but have only gotten to the first 3 chapters. We’re on vacation in Maine, and I’m so excited I get to meet Michele Morin today!

    Blessings to you, Pam! I’m your neighbor at #porchstories.

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